It’s easy to think of The Patio on Main as the new kid on the block, where you’ll find — quite literally — a giant patio on the corner of Main and Union streets in East Greenwich, but the truth is they’ve been around for the greater part of 2020. Officially opening on February 15, only one month before restaurants in Rhode Island were forced to close, they managed to shift immediately to take-out menus and DoorDash, whipping up creative sandwiches, burgers, salads and small bites. Not only did they survive the initial insanity of COVID, they did so with the highest level of excellence, winning two of RI Monthly’s “Best of RI” awards: West Bay’s Best Burger & Best New Restaurant of 2020. This is a restaurant that knows how to roll with the punches.
Back in mid-March, I’d planned to visit The Patio with my friend Jen, having followed the restaurant’s opening on social media. Six months later, it seemed only appropriate that I ask Jen if she was ready for our long-awaited meal.
“Yes!!!” she replied, legitimately with three exclamation marks.
We met on a crisp, sunny fall day, just before the evening became cold enough to necessitate outdoor heaters (which have since been added). Reservations aren’t required, and early on a Monday evening we had our choice of tables.
The Patio turned out to be a lucky investment, taking the spot where Feast used to be, because the restaurant came with its own parking lot. The owners converted this into a spacious dining area, complete with tents and umbrellas that compensated for the small interior that would have made it difficult to meet safety regulations.
We were given a cocktail and wine list that had QR codes for the beer and food menus. This was before the pumpkin switchover, but I can assure you the seasonal drinks are in: pumpkin ales from Wormtown, Shipyard and Sam Adams, as well as Down East Cider’s Pumpkin Blend. Jen and I were most interested in the cocktails, as one would expect on a Monday night.
I love all drinks with a kick, so the Spicy Cranberry Margarita and Smokey Pineapple Margarita intrigued me, but as soon as I saw the Peanut Butter Espresso Martini, I made my decision. I didn’t even read the description first, or I would have found it likewise intriguing, with ingredients such as Skrewball whiskey and Irish cream, finished — of course — with a peanut butter rim. I prefer to start my dinners with dessert, and it was worth it. Jen opted for a lighter, perhaps more refined, Blueberry Basil Lemonade, which she enjoyed.
The dinner choices were considerably harder for us to narrow down. Under the direction of Chef Mike McGovern, the restaurant serves comfort food with a creative twist, like Venda’s Fried Ravioli or grilled Mexican street corn called “Elote,” smothered in house aioli, cayenne, Reggiano cheese (known in some circles as “The King of Cheese”), cilantro and lime juice. And these are just the appetizers.
I was still on a summer charcuterie kick, though, and both of us were drawn to the Charcuterie Board, the Chef’s choice of cured meats, cheeses, nuts, pickled bites and fresh crostini. And man, this board was STACKED. Fig jam, roasted red peppers with a balsamic drizzle, brie and goat cheese, prosciutto and salami, apples and walnuts, sweet pickles and pickled onions, apples and cucumbers. The slices of fresh crostini were lightly coated in extra virgin olive oil. This is one of the best boards I’ve had in Rhode Island.
When it came to the burgers, there was no real way to decide. The Drunken Pulled Pork Burger is slow cooked over six hours in Whalers Rise pale ale; the Mac Daddy is a burger topped with a signature mac & cheese; the GOAT offers goat cheese, prosciutto and avocado, three of my favorite things. But it was the promise of a pickled jalapeño and fried onion ring atop the Bourbonator that pushed me over the edge (not to mention the black pepper candied bacon, gouda and bourbon glaze).
In an effort to be healthy, while bypassing actual salad, we ordered The Patio Caprese, a sandwich made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, roasted red peppers (these are seriously my favorite things) and a delicious housemade pesto, served on an artisan roll. We asked for fries with the burger and the sandwich, upgrading to truffle fries and buffalo fries, respectively.
I would be remiss to describe the food with simple words instead of “Mmmm” and “Wow” and the gluttonous silence it actually merited. Jen and I (especially I) ate way beyond our fill because it was too good to quit. And in case you’re wondering about dietary restrictions, all sandwiches can be served with GF rolls, and all angus burgers can be substituted for plant-based patties.
You’re also in for a treat with the newly opened location of Knead Doughnuts in East Greenwich. Jen and I shared an apple fritter for dessert, but The Patio recently released “Knead this Burger,” a donut burger featuring a Maple Glazed Knead Donut as the bun, along with cheddar cheese, bacon and Dijon aioli.
You can order online or dine outdoors. Summertime may have passed, but these new kids on the block are here to stay.
431 Main Street, East Greenwich; @thepatiori; thepatiori.com